With just hours left before sequestration is scheduled to take effect, it doesn't look likely that Washington will be able to stop the $1.2 trillion automatic federal spending cuts.
That means millions of dollars of funding for programs from special education to unemployment to national defense hanging in the balance. But for Farmington, the direct impact seems to be less catastrophic than for its urban neighbors who tend to receive more federal assistance.
According to Town Council Chairman Jeff Hogan, the police department would be impacted by the potential loss of a few small grants but the greatest loss would likely be to the school district.
Superintendent Kathleen Greider confirmed that Farmington schools receive about $90,000 for special education through the federal IDEA grant and in Title 1 funds to support programs aimed at closing the achievement gap. Those could be jeopardized by sequestration, Greider said, adding that the number was an estimate since no official numbers had been provided. The school district excluded the grants from its budgeting since its receipt was in question.
That doesn't rule out an indirect impact through loss of revenue to the state, which would trickle down to municipalities or the larger impact on the economy and residents who are employed at organizations that receive federal funding.
Connecticut could lose middle class jobs and "vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform" under the automatic federal budget cuts known as the sequester that are looming this week, the White House said Sunday in a summary of the budget reductions.
The budget cuts would see the state lose $8.7 million in education funding along with another $6.3 million in federal funds to help students with disabilities.
The cuts, the White House document says, would put "around 120 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 8,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding."
Other possible impacts of the sequestration in this state include:
- Work-Study Jobs: Around 550 fewer low income students in Connecticut would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 470 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
- Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 500 children in Connecticut, reducing access to critical early education.
- Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Connecticut would lose about $2 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Connecticut could lose another $398,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
- Military Readiness: In Connecticut, approximately 3,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $15 million in total.
- Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Connecticut will lose about $153,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
- Job Search Assistance to Help those in Connecticut find Employment and Training: Connecticut will lose about $242,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 10,650 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
- Child Care: Up to 200 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.